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Welby consults on next Bishop of Colombo

25 September 2020

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The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, with victims of the Easter bombings during a service in St Sebastian’s, Negombo, last Christmas

The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, with victims of the Easter bombings during a service in St Sebastian’s, Negombo, last Christmas

A PROCESS for appointing the next Bishop of Colombo has been begun by the Archbishop of Canterbury after the diocesan council failed to reach a conclusive decision this summer.

The Church of Ceylon, to which the diocese belongs, is an extra-provincial Church under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was formerly part of the Province of India, Burma and Ceylon, before the formation of the United Churches of South India, North India, and Pakistan.

Archbishop Welby has asked for prayer as he consults on the appointment. He met the Consultative Body, a group of lay and ordained representatives of the diocese, for the first time last week.

In a statement, Lambeth Palace said: “As well as taking the views of the Consultative Body, the Archbishop will also be listening to as many of the key stakeholders in the diocese of Colombo and the Church of Ceylon as possible, including members of the diocese of Colombo’s Standing Committee.”

Archbishop Welby said: “The Church of Ceylon is a courageous, resilient, and hope-filled Church that lives out the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to Sri Lanka and to the global Anglican Communion.

“As we discern the new Bishop of Colombo, I ask for the prayers of our Anglican brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. May the Holy Spirit guide our decision-making, and enable the diocese of Colombo and the Church of Ceylon to flourish in the years to come.”

Denial over Easter attacks. The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Colombo issued a statement this week to deny having any prior warning of last year’s Easter Day terrorist attacks, in which 267 people were killed in co-ordinated explosions at churches and hotels (News, 26 April 2019).

During the presidential commission’s inquiry, one MP suggested that one of the country’s cardinals was forewarned, and so did not celebrate mass in public that day. The diocesan statement said that the allegation was “baseless” and “puerile”.

It continued: “We reiterate that we fully trust the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to render justice to the hundreds of innocent people who lost their lives or were maimed for life due to both the hateful actions of the terrorists and the shameful inaction of the political and administrative as well as intelligence officials of that time, who are responsible for this mindless carnage of human beings. Justice must prevail at all costs.”

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